US-Japan Will Strengthen Alliance to Face North Korea and China’s Threats. PHOTO/Reuters
WASHINGTON – Top national security officials from United States of America (US) and Japan announced plans to strengthen alliances to help counter threats from North Korea and China, which they cite as the biggest challenge in the region.
Foreign Minister Antony Blinken said the agreement reflected the two countries’ efforts to deepen cooperation “in all areas”, including space, cyber security and new technologies.
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“It is difficult to overestimate the importance of the US-Japan alliance spanning more than seven decades,” said Blinken, after a meeting at the State Department, Wednesday (11/1/2023).
“It has been a cornerstone of peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific, ensuring the security, freedom and prosperity of our people and those of the entire region,” Blinken continued, as quoted by AP.
The two countries are revising their joint defense posture and planning increased military drills as they face increasing threats from North Korea and increasing aggressiveness from China.
The US and Japanese secretaries of foreign and defense agreed to adjust the presence of American troops on the island of Okinawa. Prior to the meeting, Japan’s defense ministry announced it was ready to begin construction on an uninhabited island where the two militaries would hold joint military exercises.
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Wednesday’s discussions will be followed by a meeting on Friday between President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida where they will underscore the importance of the relationship.
Kishida, on a week-long trip to visit allies in Europe and North America, signed a defense agreement with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Wednesday strengthening military ties between their two counties, also in response to China’s increased military assertiveness.
Following their talks, Blinken, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and their Japanese partners, Yoshimasa Hayashi and Yasukazu Hamada, plan to issue a joint statement that will adjust, but not increase, the presence of American troops in Okinawa.
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